12 January 2020 Paper

Paper industry ready for EU's sustainability challenge

Cepi says it is ready to respond to demands for industries to clean up their acts as the need to reduce carbon impacts becomes critical.

The European paper industry is “up for the challenge” of delivering the changes necessary to meet the requirements of European legislation designed to reduce carbon and enhance sustainability.

Confederation of European Paper Industries director general Jori Ringman has welcomed the EU Green Deal Communication and the set of initiatives planned for publication in March. “The carbon neutrality objective requires the European pulp and paper industry to become even more sustainable, efficient and innovative. It demands that we continue on our transformational journey while maintaining our competitiveness,” he says. “Our industry is up for the challenge.”

However, it remains a steep task. Paper producers have cut carbon emissions by 27% over the 2005 figure, thanks to improved production and increased recycling. Cepi has already pledged to increase recycling rates and through the use of forest products, supports carbon sequestering via tree planting. Trees are a key and renewable resource in the emerging bio economy. Papermakes will also be continuing efforts to increase the use of renewable energy.

Cepi also acknowledges that to improve the industry’s overall carbon footprint “a step change is ultimately needed, supported by breakthrough technologies and solutions. We are committed to searching for them.”

The latter will require support from European policy makers in providing the necessary frameworks and infrastructure to support the circular economy and the move towards clean energy through assistance for climate-neutral fuels, large scale climate neutral electricity generation and recognition for local generation, including CHP generation that many mills have already invested in.

This investment in clean energy creation will need governments to facilitate access to private finance to invest in the new technologies Cepi warns.

Cepi has already started 4evergreen as a body to promote the use of renewable fibre in packaging with growing support from paper and board producers, brands and carton converters.

By Gareth Ward

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